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OCRC finds that “For Service Speak English” sign is discriminatory


The Pleasure Inn engaged in discriminatory practices when it placed a sign in its window stating “For Service Speak English,” according to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission’s  (OCRC) ruling October 6. 


Tom Ullum who placed the sign in the front window in late Spring 2005, owns the Pleasure Inn, located on U.S. Route 42 in Mason, Ohio, 22 miles north of Cincinnati.


Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) filed the charge with the OCRC on July 11, 2005, alleging discrimination in a place of public accommodation based on national origin.  HOME is a Cincinnati fair housing non-profit that has a comprehensive Latino program to work with the rapidly growing community in Southwest Ohio, including Warren County where the Pleasure Inn is located. 


“The English-only rule applied by the Pleasure Inn serves no purpose other than to discriminate against non-English speaking individuals,” said OCRC Chief of Special Investigations Desmon Martin. 


“The enforcement of this rule perpetuates an atmosphere of exclusion and imposes a badge of inferiority upon the limited English proficient community. This type of second-class citizenship treatment is precisely the type of egregious conduct that The Ohio Civil Rights Act is aimed at eliminating.”


Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Section 4112.02 (G) states that it is unlawful for any proprietor … of a place of public accommodation to deny to any person, except for reasons applicable alike to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or ancestry, the full enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges of the place of public accommodation. 


OCRC Executive Director, G. Michael Payton said, “With its ever-growing numbers and since September 11, 2001, new immigration and language access remains a critical community and political issue…Without question, it is imperative that all residents learn to speak English in order to participate in the American culture, employment and life, but that goal will require an investment in the limited English proficient and new immigrant communities, especially their community serving organizations.”


The OCRC holds public meetings once every three to four weeks.  The five appointed Commissioners will hear arguments regarding discrimination complaints.  For more information on the cases before the Commission, please go to the OCRC website at www.crc.ohio.gov.  Go to “Letters of Determination.”


The OCRC receives and investigates charges of discrimination in employment, housing, credit and higher education on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, country of national origin age, ancestry, disability and families with children.





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